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Mortality and Meaningfulness

Thomas, Joshua (2018) Mortality and Meaningfulness. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Some have claimed that human life is inevitably meaningless because we are mortal. Others have claimed the opposite: that life would be meaningless if we never died, and our being mortal is actually an essential condition for our lives to have any meaning at all. The aim of this thesis is to evaluate the arguments that have or could be used to support these claims, and come to a conclusion about which position, if either, is correct. Part One provides an introduction to the problem and an overview of various accounts of meaningfulness which can be found in the literature before outlining a broader and more defensible amalgam theory of meaningfulness. According to this theory, a life is ideally meaningful if and only if, and to the extent that, it contains sufficient degrees of purposefulness, significance, and coherence. In Part Two, the thesis moves on to systematically consider arguments that immortal life would be meaningless because it would lack each of these three essential ingredients of meaningfulness. In every case, immortality is defended against such arguments. Part Three covers the counterpart arguments which might be aimed at mortal life and reaches a comparable conclusion. Part Four summarises the findings and lessons of the thesis. In short, mortality can affect the meaningfulness of our lives in various ways, as would its absence. Nevertheless, mortality is neither entirely destructive of life’s meaningfulness nor one of its necessary conditions; a life can be meaningful whether or not it ends in death.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.755190
Depositing User: Mr Joshua Thomas
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2018 08:12
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2019 10:20
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21318

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